AgriTech and Agri-Startups

AgriTech and Agri-Startups

  • Agricultural technology or Agro technology, applies technology to agriculture and allied activities to increase output, efficiency, and profitability.
  • Agricultural technology refers to farm products, services, or applications that improve various input/output processes.
  • Agricultural technology has evolved due to advances in agricultural science, agronomy, and agricultural engineering.
  • The agritech sector is poised to alter India’s agricultural economy as technology penetration, and innovation opportunities grow in the agricultural ecosystem.
  • Looking to Indian agricultural system which is more complex, technology-driven solutions is urgently needed. These have the potential of changing the dynamics of Indian agriculture and putting the way for a futuristic model.

Why Are AgriTech Startups Necessary?

Malpractices in unorganised agricultural markets and the lack of organised production marketing channels are becoming a major source of concern for Indian farmers. They have many hurdles to make a living from farming.

Lack of transportation and storage services, limited access to advanced technologies to obtain timely information and agricultural solutions, leaving them vulnerable and alone.

AgriTech firms can address these issues from the outset, changing the face of Indian agriculture in the process.

Role of Agri-Startups in Agriculture

  • Farm Diversification: The AgriTech Startups are empowering farmers to integrate enterprises like livestock production and aquaculture into their existing farm. Since, micro-farm installation requiring minimum space and labour, it is more profitable and provides sustainability. On the other hand, non-crop diversification is helping farmers increase and earns income round the year, thus improve productivity and profitability.
  • Income & Standards of living: Farmers in India are mainly small and marginal having small landholdings, suffering with low incomes, mounting debts and dependency on subsistence farming, informal lenders and fluctuating prices.  India has seen a rise in the number of agritech startups that are not only making technology more accessible but also helping these farmers to improve their lives. With the advent of AgriTech startups and digital tools, many Indian farmers are supplementing their income with farm diversification.
  • Awareness Creation: AgriTech startups with the ever-increasing internet are increasing awareness among the farming communities and connecting them to a network of traders, retailers and exporters willing to buy their produce at higher prices.
  • Technological Advances: Technological advances in supply chain platforms have also resulted in the supply of high-quality live input materials to farmers engaged in livestock rearing and aquaculture.
  • Lending Reforms: Abundance of easy financing options and government initiatives has reduced the burden of interest on farmers. The lending culture of the country is changing with the emergence of Fintech and AgriTech startups. Now underserved small and marginal farmers can secure loans from formal institutions at low-interest rates.

Initiatives for Agri-Startups

  • In the Budget 2022, a fund for agri-startups and rural enterprises has been announced by finance minister of India. NABARD is the working and funding institution. It will stimulate the farm produce value chain.
  • Loans up to 50 crore to agri-startups comes under priority sector lending as per direction of Reserve Bank of India in 2020.
  • The International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) Hyderabad has called for applications from agritech start-ups under the NIDHI-Seed Support Scheme (NIDHI-SSS).
  • The selected start-ups will receive funding up to 50 lakh. The seed fund will enable them to accelerate their commercialization activities.

Issues with Agri-Startups

  • As per latest Economic Survey, 75 startups companies mobilised 89, 066 crore in April-November 2021 through the initial public offering (IPO) route, the highest in a decade. However, the share of agri-startups in this is negligible.
  • In India, the startup ecosystem is twisted towards services rather than agriculture and manufacturing. For example, Big Data, Edtech, fintech, logistics and supply chain activities.
  • Despite many capitalists keen on investing in startups based on their disruptive business model, high growth potential and their ability to make quick profits, agri-startups have been lagging in attracting funds.
  • Currently India has 650 plus start-ups that offer agri-tech innovations in partnership with industries and financial institutions, however, they lack scale due to the very high costs of serving smallholding farmers and building their own distribution system.
  • Lack of seed capital from banks.

Boosting Measures

  • Seed Capital from Banks and helping and initiative approach from NABARD can trigger to India’s startup ecosystem.
  • Ease of funding for agri- entrepreneurs.
  • Exchange facility just like stock exchange for small and medium enterprises can be useful. In addition, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) may stipulate liberal regulatory norms for listing of agri-startups on the bourses.
  • The team of collaboration between Entrepreneurs and agricultural researchers, financial experts, and technology wizard’s would be successful in mobilising capital.
  • Association of Agri-startups along with APEDA, Indian Chamber of Food & Agriculture, NASSCOM, etc., for testing, processing of prototypes before their launch.
  • Financial Literacy to Agri-entrepreneurs.
  • Investor-friendly regime by government can attract funds in the agri-startup sector.

Top 10 Agritech Startups in India

  1. Ninjacart

It was founded by Thirukumaran Nagarajan, Kartheeswaran K K, Ashutosh Vikram, Sharath Loganathan, and Vasudevan Chinnathambi in 2015. It was developed into a B2B agritech startup to solve new agricultural produce supply chain problems for farmers and retailers. Ninjacart offer a wide variety of vegetables and fruits hygienically handled in crates sourced from farms across the country.

  1. WayCool

 In July 2015, Karthik Jayaraman and Sanjay Dasari established WayCool, a B2B (business to business) agritech platform. It employs technology to manage the entire agriculture supply chain, from farming inputs to last-mile delivery, allowing farmers to sell their products through a variety of channels.

  1. AgroStar

AgroStar was launched in 2013 by brothers Shardul and Sitanshu Sheth. It is an online marketplace for farmers to buy agricultural inputs. Farmers can also get expert advice on crop management and productivity.

  1. DeHaat

DeHaat was founded in 2012 by Shashank Kumar and Amrendra Singh to provide agricultural services such as seeds and fertilisers, individualized guidance, soil testing, weather updates, microfinance, and insurance.

  1. Stellapps

It was founded in 2011 by Ranjith Mukundan and others, helps dairy farmers and cooperatives maximise earnings by digitising and streamlining Milk Procurement & Coldchain Management via their IoT-based SmartMoo platform. Stellapps is the first firm in India to digitise the dairy supply chain.

  1. Bijak

Bijak is a B2B marketplace for agricultural commodities that provides buyers and sellers with better prices, more working capital, and more efficient logistics. Bijak is an Indian agricultural business-to-business trade platform that allows traders, wholesalers, and food processors to keep track of their transactions, obtain transparent pricing, enhance logistics, and shorten working capital cycle.

  1. CropIn Technology

CropIn, founded in 2010 by Krishna Kumar and Kunal Prasad, is a one-stop SaaS-based solutions platform that helps agribusinesses boost efficiency, productivity, and sustainability. Its platform provides real-time weather data, the capacity to control farm activities, and crop output predictions to reduce risk and increase yield.

  1. EM3 AgriServices

EM3 AgriServices was founded in 2013 by Rohtash Mal and his son Adwitya Mal to allow small farmers who can’t afford to buy expensive agricultural technology to rent speciality devices to increase production at a lower cost.

  1. Intello Labs

Intello Labs was founded in 2016 by Milan Sharma, Nishant Mishra, Himani Shah, and Devendra Chandani. Its digital products include Intello Track, Intello Sort, Intello Pack, and Intello Deep, which use computer vision and deep learning to assist farmers, retailers, and exporters in determining the quality of their fruits and vegetables.

  1. Aibono

Aibono, founded by Vivek Rajkumar in 2014, is credited for pioneering the seed-to-plate concept. It assists farmers in increasing crop productivity while also selling the product to shops. The company collects farm data using soil sensors, IoT devices, and imaging drones then transmits it to their cloud platform, which employs predictive analytics to assist farmers in making better agricultural decisions.


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